Insight Productions

Insight productions logo

  The Insight Production Company Ltd. is an independent production company based in Toronto. It was established in 1970 by Penray "Pen" Densham and John Kingsley Watson. In 1973, the company gained recognition for the documentary film Life Times Nine, which received two Academy Award nominations. In December 1978 John McLeod Brunton, Jr., assistant editor and director with Insight, bought the rights to the company from Densham and Watson, becoming President.
  Born in Toronto (ca. 1954), Brunton was the youngest of three children and attended the Ridley School in St. Catharines, ON. Upon graduating, Brunton attended York University, Guelph University and Ryerson University. After being impressed by a short film produced by Insight in the mid1970s (Dazzled), Brunton called the company and expressed interest in their work. He began working for them in 1976. Working with Executive Vice President Barbara Bowlby (who joined the company in the mid 1980s), Brunton established a company that has fostered Canada’s domestic star system. Insight has created programs in several genres (documentary, drama, sports, variety, comedy, music, reality), and has adapted to shifting tastes, technology and formats. Canadian Idol, an Insight-produced iteration of the successful international format, aired between 2004 and 2008 to record-breaking audiences. Insight is also credited with revamping Canada’s national music awards, the JUNO Awards. By moving the show from a theatre to an arena setting, Insight was ultimately able to take the show on the road to cities across the country. The company has produced a number of award-winning programs for youth, including The Truth About Alex and the dramatic series Ready or Not. Insight is also recognized for producing Canada’s first successful late-night talk show, Open Mike with Mike Bullard, for six years.

Sources: 

Library and Archives Canada – Administrative history for Insight Productions

Insight Productions website http://insighttv.com/

Hampson, Sarah. “John Brunton: He whipped the Juno Awards show into shape, then
turned Canadian Idol into a runaway success.” The Globe and Mail, January 3, 2004.

“Gotoguy.” Hollywood Reporter, May 1, 2007.

“Terry McBride and John Brunton to be inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall
of Fame.” Canada Newswire, September 27, 2007.

 

Accession No.: 
2006.007, 2006.009, 2008.007
Dates of creation: 
1970 2007
Physical description: 

42 m of textual records

84,664 photographs
· 897 contact sheets (794 col., 103 b&w)
· 17,208 prints (16,775 col., 433 b&w)
· 13,831 negatives (13,091 col., 740 b&w)
· 2,571 transparencies (2,319 col., 252 b&w)
· 50,157 digital images (in JPEG format) (50,157 col.)

147 graphic materials
· 114 posters/framed pictures
· 17 pieces of artwork
· 16 storyboards

4,552 audio recordings
· 36 rolls 48 track tape (34 hr., 20 min.)
· 37 rolls ½ in. tape (191,200 ft)
· 1,982 rolls ¼ in. tape
· 19 rolls 2 in. tape (ca. 2 hrs.)
· 20 rolls 8mm cassettes (37 hr., 40 min.)
· 8 digital audio cassettes (11 hr., 11 min.)
· 88 D2 cassettes (57 hr., 3 min.)
· 498 DAT cassettes (680 hr.)
· 153 DA8 cassettes (284 hr., 36 min.)
· 14 DA88 cassettes (24 hr., 29 min.)
· 30 DA113 cassettes (56 hr., 30 min.)
· 130 DPD113 cassettes (244 hr., 50 min.)
· 675 CDRs
· 33 audio cassettes (28 hr., 50 min.)
· 79 CDs
· 110 rolls 35mm magnetic soundtrack (87, 840 ft.)
· 1 roll 16mm optical soundtrack (800 ft.)
· 461 rolls 16mm magnetic soundtrack (159, 424 ft.)

20,474 Video recordings
· 282 1 in. tapes (141 hr., 27 min.)
· 427 ¾ in. tapes (278 hr., 1 min.)
· 1 8mm cassette (2 hr.)
· 3,213 Digital Betacam cassettes (2,732 hr., 40 min.)
· 10,837 Betacam SP (7,539 hr., 19 min.)
· 1 ½ in. data cartridge
· 70 reels 2 in. tape (73 hr., 31 min.)
· 433 Betacam cassettes (222 hr., 58 min.)
· 9 Beta cassettes (1 hr., 25 min.)
· 216 Betacam SX (206 hr., 5 min.)
· 2 Betacam MPEG IMX (2 hr.)
· 68 8mm data cartridges (3 hr., 36 min.)
· 20 CDR
· 8 CDs (7 hr., 41 min.)
· 705 DVCam cassettes (381 hr., 48 min.)
· 192 DVC Pro HD (221 hr., 56 min.)
· 259 DVD
· 366 DVDR
· 38 DVDROM
· 488 HDCam (347 hr., 51 min.)
· 93 Hi8 cassettes (79 hr., 12 min.)
· 359 MiniDV cassettes (353 hr., 29 min.)
· 1 Super8 cassette (1 hr.)
· 4 XD cassettes (6 hr., 16 min.)
· 745 XD Cam HD discs (744 hr.)
· 1,636 VHS cassettes (1,466 hr., 11 min.)
· 1 floppy disk

1,931 cinefilms
· 3 rolls 8mm cinefilm (ca. 400 ft)
· 6 rolls 8mm cinefilm (690 ft.)
· 5 rolls 35 mm optical cinefilm (3,102 ft.)
· 1 roll 35mm trailer (500 ft.)
· 1,220 rolls 16mm picture cinefilm (307, 989 ft.)
· 696 rolls 16mm negative cinefilm (641,770 ft.)
· 178 rolls 16mm mag/pix cinefilm (54,880 ft.)

283 electronic records
· 5 8in. diskettes (bearing textual records)
· 247 3.5in. floppy disks (bearing textual records)
· 7 DLT Tape Drives (bearing textual records)
· 23 ZIP discs (bearing textual records)
· 1 2GB disc (bearing textual records)

18 artifacts

Scope and content: 

The Insight Productions Ltd. fonds includes three accessions (2006.007, 2006.009, 2008.007). These are each divided into several series.

2006.007
This accession is divided into 5 series according to format. These are: ‘Graphic Materials’ ‘Audio Recordings’, ‘Video Recordings’, ‘Cinefilms’ and ‘Artifacts’.
  The first series, ‘Graphic Materials, includes posters from such productions as The Wave, The Goods, and Ready or Not.
  The second series, ‘Audio Recordings’, includes elements in several formats (including ½ in. tape, ¼ in. tape, 2 in. tape, 8mm tape, digital audio cassettes, D2 cassettes, DAT cassettes and CDs) pertaining to productions such as Canadian Idol, The Truth About Alex, Country Gold, A David Foster Christmas Card, Scott Hamilton’s Upside Down, Fellini and Me, Great Moments in Canadian Sports, and Heart of Gold.
  The third series, ‘Cinefilm’, consists of 16mm film from Heart of Gold, Great Moments in Canadian Sport, Ready or Not, Country Gold and Tucker and the Horse Thief. Also included is 35mm film from The Truth About Alex and Heart of Gold.
  The fourth series, ‘Artifacts’, includes awards and framed pictures pertaining to Heart of Gold, Fellini and Me, Full Circle, Kurt Browning: You Must Remember This, Open Mike with Mike Bullard, Ready or Not, Tara Lipinsky: From This Moment, The Truth About Alex, Toller Cranston: A Tribute.

This fonds includes graphic and textual material relating to a number of productions,
including:

  • The Truth About Alex (Television, 1986)
  • Test Pattern (Television, 1989 – 1991)
  • Fellini and Me (Television, 1990)
  • Country Gold (Television, 1992)
  • 1993 Juno Awards (Television, 1993)
  • Ready or Not (Television, 1993)
  • Kurt Browning: You Must Remember This (Television, 1994)
  • Open Mike with Mike Bullard (Television, 1997 – 2003)
  • Full Circle: The Untold Story of the Dionne Quintuplets (Television, 1998)
  • Joni Mitchell: Painting with Words and Music (Television, 1998)
  • Toller Cranston: A Tribute (Television, 1998)
  • Tara Lipinsky: From This Moment (Television, 1999)
  • Jann Arden: Live At Last (Television, 2000)
  • The Wave (Television, 2000)
  • The Goods (Television, 2001)
  • 2003 Juno Awards (Television, 2003)

This fonds includes audiovisual material relating to a number of productions, including:

  • Heart of Gold (Television, 1982)
  • Indigo (Television, 1983)
  • My Father My Rival (Television, 1984)
  • Tucker and the Horse Thief (Television, 1984)
  • Great Canadian Moments in Sports (Television, 1984)
  • Workin’ for Peanuts (Television, 1984)
  • The Truth About Alex (Television, 1986)
  • 1986 Gemini Awards (Television, 1986)
  • It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (Television, 1987)
  • 1989 Juno Awards (Television, 1989)
  • A David Foster Christmas Card (Television, 1989)
  • Fellini and Me (Television, 1990)
  • Saying Goodbye (Television, 1990)
  • Kurt Browning: Tall in the Saddle (Television, 1991)
  • Test Pattern (Television, 1989 – 1991)
  • Country Gold (Television, 1992)
  • Pumped! (Television, 1992)
  • Canada Day (Television, 1992)
  • 1993 Juno Awards (Television, 1993)
  • Ready Or Not (Television, 1993)
  • The Artistry of Torvill and Dean (Television, 1994)
  • Prairie Oyster: Group Portrait (Television, 1994)
  • Kurt Browning: You Must Remember This (Television, 1994)
  • Ed’s Night Party (Television, 1995)
  • Skate (Television, 1995)
  • Shark Talk (Television, 1996)
  • Scott Hamilton: Upside Down (Television, 1997)
  • Scott Hamilton: Back on the Ice (Television, 1997)
  • Open Mike With Mike Bullard (Television, 1997 – 2003)
  • Full Circle: The Untold Story of the Dionne Quintuplets (Television, 1998)
  • Joni Mitchell: Painting with Words and Music (Television, 1998)
  • Toller Cranston: A Tribute (Television, 1998)
  • 100 Years of Canadian Sports (Television, 1999)
  • Tara Lipinsky: From This Moment (Television, 1999)
  • The WarmUp Show with Sean Tweedley (Television, 1999)
  • 1999 Stars on Ice (Television, 1999)
  • The Wave (Television, 2000)
  • 2000 Stars on Ice (Television, 2000)
  • Jann Arden: Live At Last (Television, 2000)
  • Sandra Bezic: The Passion to Skate (Television, 2000)
  • The MermanOff (Television, 2000)
  • 2001 Canada’s Walk of Fame (Television, 2001)
  • Sonic Temple (Television, 2001)
  • The Goods (Television, 2001)
  • 2002 Canada’s Walk of Fame (Television, 2002)
  • 2002 Juno Awards (Television, 2002)
  • Jamie & David: A Golden Homecoming (Television, 2002)
  • Kurt Browning: Ice Legends (Television, 2002)
  • 2003 Juno Awards (Television, 2003)
  • Sean Cullen Home For Christmas (Television, 2003)
  • Canadian Idol (Television, 2003)
  • Canadian Idol (Television, 2004)
  • 2004 Juno Awards (Television, 2004)
  • 2004 Canada’s Walk of Fame (Television, 2004)
  • 2005 Canada’s Walk of Fame (Television, 2005)
  • Mindtrip: Explorations of the Paranormal (Television, 2005)
  • Jon Dore Show (Television, 2005)
  • Falcon Beach (Television, 2005 – 2006)
  • Canadian Idol (Television, 2005)
  • 2005 Canada’s Walk of Fame (Television, 2005)
  • 2005 Juno Awards (Television, 2005)
  • Hatching, Matching, & Dispatching: Pilot & Season 1 (Television, 2005)
  • Instant Star (Television, 2006)
  • 2006 Juno Awards (Television, 2006)
  • Comedy Gold (Television, 2006)

2006.009
This accession includes 13 series: ‘AudioVisual’, ‘Awards’, ‘Business Affairs’, ‘Development’, General’, ‘Legal’, Marketing and Distribution’, Photography’, Post-Production’, ‘Pre-Production’, ‘Production’, Publicity’, ‘Publicity-Posters’.
  The first series, ‘AudioVisual’, includes 16mm film (including original camera negative from Ready or Not), sound elements, and video tapes (primarily Betacam SP broadcast quality tapes of preproduction material from Canadian Idol).
  The second series, ‘Awards’, includes awards for a number of Insight productions.
  The third series, ‘Business Affairs’, includes textual documents pertaining to several Insight productions.
  The fourth series, ‘Development’, includes textual documents pertaining to several Insight productions.
  The fifth series, ‘General’ includes correspondence, press clippings, and other textual records, related to general Insight company matters as well as specific Insight productions including Open Mike With Mike Bullard, Pumped, Quintuplets, Ready or Not, Stars on Ice, and Test Pattern. The series also includes artwork and posters from various Insight productions.
  The sixth series, ‘Legal’, includes legal documents pertaining to the production of several Insight productions.
  The seventh series, ‘Marketing and Distribution’, includes textual documents pertaining to the marketing and distribution of several Insight productions.
  The eighth series, ‘Photography’, includes extensive photographic material (prints, negatives and slides of various formats) for most of the Insight productions.
  The ninth, tenth and eleventh series, (‘Pre-Production’, ‘Production’, ‘Post-Production’) includes scripts, proposals, treatments, and outlines for various productions.
  The twelfth series, ‘Publicity’, includes files pertaining to publicity for Insight productions.
The thirteenth series, ‘Publicity-Posters’, includes posters for various Insight productions.

This fonds includes graphic and textual material relating to a number of productions, including:

  • Heart of Gold (Television, 1982)
  • Fellini and Me (Television, 1990)
  • Ready or Not (Television, 1993)
  • Open Mike with Mike Bullard (Television, 1997 – 2003)
  • Joni Mitchell: Painting with Words and Music (Television, 1998)
  • 100 Years of Canadian Sports (Television, 1999)
  • Jann Arden: Live At Last (Television, 2000)
  • Canadian Idol (Television, 2003)
  • Canadian Idol (Television, 2004)
  • The Juno Awards (Television, 2004)
  • The Juno Awards (Television, 2005)
  • Falcon Beach (Television, 2005)
  • Canadian Idol (Television, 2005)
  • The Juno Awards (Television, 2006)
  • Comedy Gold (Television, 2006)

This fonds includes audiovisual material relating to a number of productions, including:

  • Fellini and Me (Television, 1990)
  • Country Gold (Television, 1992)
  • Ready or Not (Television, 1993)
  • Ed’s Night Party (Television, 1995)
  • Open Mike with Mike Bullard (Television, 1997 – 2003)
  • Toller Cranston: A Tribute (Television, 1998)
  • Sonic Temple (Television, 2001)
  • The Goods (Television, 2001)
  • Sean Cullen Home For Christmas (Television, 2003)
  • Canadian Idol (Television, 2003)
  • Canadian Idol (Television, 2004)
  • Canadian Idol (Television, 2005)

2008.007
This accession consists of 17 series, divided by production: ‘Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5th Grader?’, ‘Canada’s Walk of Fame: 2006 & 2007’, ‘Canadian Idol: Season 4 & Season 5’, ‘Deal or No Deal Canada’, ‘Falcon Beach’, ‘Hatching, Matching and Dispatching: Pilot & Season 1’, ‘Icons and Rising Stars—Melissa and Rex: Let It Go!’, ‘Jon Dore Show, The Pilot & Jon Dore Show, Season 1’, ‘Juno Awards, 2006 & 2007’, ‘Mindtrip: Explorations of the Paranormal’, ‘MuchMusic VJ Search: Season 1’, ‘Project Runway Canada: Season 1’, ‘Star Racer’, ‘The Toronto Variety Show’.
  The first series, ‘Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5th Grader?’ includes Digital Betacam, Betacam SP, and DVD recordings pertaining to the five-episode game show hosted by Colin Mochrie.
  The second series, ‘Canada’s Walk of Fame: 2006 & 2007’, includes Betacam SP, Betacam SX, CDR, Digital Betacam, DVD, MPEG IMX, and VHS recordings pertaining to the annual two-hour variety awards presentation paying tribute to Canadiancelebrities. Footage from live ceremonies is combined with interviews and historic still and moving images. These two editions feature inductees Wayne Gretzky, Paul Anka, The Tragically Hip, Arthur Hiller, Alex Colville, Daniel Lanois, Jim Carrey and others.
  The third series, ‘Canadian Idol: Season 4 & Season 5’, includes Betacam SP, 2” tape, Betacam SX, CD, Digital Betacam, DPD113, DV Cam, DVD, Mini DV and VHS recordings pertaining to the television show hosted by Ben Mulroney. By the time these seasons aired on CTV, the series had become Canada’s highest rated television series in history.
  The fourth series, ‘Deal or No Deal Canada’, includes Betacam SP, CDR, DV Cam, DVD, HD Cam, Mini DV and VHS recordings pertaining to the game show hosted by Howie Mandel. The program, which consisted of five episodes, was aired on Global Television.
  The fifth series, ‘Falcon Beach’, consists of textual records and DVD, CD and VHS recordings of the one-hour drama series featuring young people summering in the fictitious lakeside resort town of Falcon Beach. Shot in Gimli and Winnipeg Beach, Falcon Beach is a co-production
between Insight and Manitoba-based Original Pictures.
  The sixth series, ‘Hatching, Matching and Dispatching: Pilot & Season 1’, includes textual records and ¼ in. tape, Betacam SP, CD, DAT, Digital Betacam, DVD, Floppy disk and VHS recordings pertaining to a half-hour comedy series produced for CBC in 2005 and 2006. The program, which was set in Newfoundland, features Mary Walsh, Mark McKinney, Shaun Majumder, Rick Boland and Sherry White.
  The seventh series, ‘Icons and Rising Stars—Melissa and Rex: Let It Go!’, includes Betacam SP, CD, Digital Betacam, DVD, Mini DV, and VHS recordings pertaining to the documentary about two Canadian singers (and ex-Canadian Idol competitors) Melissa O’Neil and Rex Goudie. The documentary includes footage from concerts in Brantford, ON, St. John’s, NF and Calgary.
  The eighth series, ‘Jon Dore Show, The Pilot & Season 1’, features Betacam SP, CD, Mini DV, and DVD recordings of Canadian comedian Jon Dore’s 2007 show.
  The ninth series, ‘Juno Awards, 2006 & 2007’, includes Betacam SP, CD, DA113, DA8, DAT, Digital Betacam, DPD113, DVC Pro HD, DV Cam, DVD, HD Cam, Mini DV, VHS and XD Cam HD recordings of the 2006 and 2007 Juno Award ceremonies. The 2006 show was held in Halifax and was hosted by Pamela Anderson. Featured performers included Divine Brown, Bedouin Soundclash, Broken Social Scene, Coldplay and the BlackEyed
Peas. The 2007 show occurred in Saskatoon and was hosted by Nelly Furtado. Featured performers include Tragically Hip, Alexisonfire, Billy
Talen, KOS, DJ Champion, City and Colour and Patrick Watson.
  The tenth series, ‘Mindtrip: Explorations of the Paranormal’, includes Digital Betacam and CD recordings pertaining to the program Mindtrip (hosted by Hugh Dillon). The 2005 production includes an overview of the paranormal and descriptions of paranormalrich Canadian locations.
  The eleventh series, ‘MuchMusic VJ Search: Season 1’ includes textual records, Betacam SP, CD, DVD, Mini DV, and VHS recordings pertaining to the 10-episode reality program hosted by Dina Pugliese. Produced in 2007, this program features judges comprised of industry insiders including Robin Black, Kardinal Offishall and Steve Anthony.
  The twelfth series, ‘Project Runway Canada: Season 1’, includes textual records and CD, DVD and XD Cam HD recordings pertaining to the first season of Project Runway Canada. The series, hosted by model Iman, features Canadian fashion designers competing for the chance to be discovered as the ‘it’ Canadian.
  The thirteenth series, ‘Star Racer’, includes textual records, Betacam SP, CD, Digital Betacam, DV Cam, DVD, HD Cam, Mini DV, and DA8
recordings. The program, hosted by Canadian actor Yannick Bisson, was a reality-based competition to find Canada’s best driver. It was shot at Le Circuit racetrack in Mont Tremblant, Quebec and aired on the Discovery Channel.
  The fourteenth series, ‘The Toronto Variety Show’, includes textual records, Betacam SP, CD/CDR, DVC Pro HD, DV Cam, DVD/DVDR, Mini DV, and VHS recordings. This entertainment-focused program was shot on location in downtown Toronto in four fast-paced one-hour episodes. Hosted by opera singer Measha Brueggergosman, the series featured Jon Dore, Melanie Durrant, K’naan, DJ Zahra, the Doo Wops and Kenny Robinson.
  The fifteenth series, ‘Alison Birk Archive’, consists of textual records created by and/or for Alison Birk.
  The sixteenth series, ‘John Brunton Personal’, consists of textual records created by and/or for John Brunton.
  The seventeenth series, ‘John Murray Development Files’, consists of records created by and/or for John Murray Development Files.

This fonds includes graphic and textual material relating to a number of productions, including:

  • Falcon Beach: Series 1 (Television, 2005)
  • Hatching, Matching and Dispatching : Pilot & Season 1 (Television, 2005)
  • Mindtrip: Explorations of the Paranormal (Television, 2005)
  • The Toronto Variety Show (Television, 2005)
  • Icons and Rising Stars – Melissa and Rex: Let It Go! (Television, 2006)
  • Falcon Beach: Series 2 (Television, 2006)
  • Canada’s Walk of Fame: 2006 (Television, 2006)
  • Star Racer (Television, 2006)
  • Juno Awards: 2006 (Television, 2006)
  • Canadian Idol: Season 4 (Television, 2006)
  • Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5-th Grader? (Television, 2007)
  • Canada’s Walk of Fame: 2007 (Television, 2007)
  • Canadian Idol: Season 5 (Television, 2007)
  • Deal or No Deal Canada (Television, 2007)
  • The Jon Dore Show: The Pilot (Television, 2007)
  • The Jon Dore Show: Season 1 (Television, 2007)
  • Juno Awards: 2007 (Television, 2007)
  • MuchMusic VJ Search: Season 1 (Television, 2007)
  • Project Runway Canada: Season 1 (Television, 2007)

This fonds includes audiovisual material relating to a number of productions, including:

  • Falcon Beach (Television, 2005)
  • Hatching, Matching, & Dispatching: Pilot & Season 1 (Television, 2005)
  • The Toronto Variety Show (Television, 2005)
  • Star Racer (Television, 2006)
  • Much Music VJ Search: Season 1 (Television, 2007)
  • Project Runway Canada: Season 1 (Television, 2007)
Rights and access: 

A)No access restriction.
B) Material is subject to copyright restrictions; please consult an archivist.

Language: 
English